Camens – Live at Night & Day Café

By Maisie Brogden

“That feeling when you get on stage and play a track, and everyone just loves it… it’s kind of like a drug that you’ll chase ever since then.”

Tonight, Stoke band Camens have chased that drug all the way to Night & Day Café – a beloved venue nestled in the woozy lanes of Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

As the lull of the afternoon melts into gentle hum of early evening life, a warm possibility leaks from the venue to the streets. The band recently released their debut album Work/Life/Balance on May 3rd, taking it on the road the very same day. It would seem their own work/lives are less balanced and more inseparably intertwined – like wearing something you’re still in the process of knitting.

Inside, it’s a tangle for all senses. Spirits lift below lanterns. Drinks hiss under the watch of a disco ball. Every surface is licked by patient colour. In the green and pink, the band make their way to stage.

Opening track ‘Danny Devito’ races in, elevating the rampant joy that had slowly been feeling its way through the air. The band’s passion is instantly palpable as each member closes their eyes to become the song. The guitar is bounding and infectious in such a way you have to wonder if even the people on the pavement can feel its pulse.

Later, when the day has well and truly become night and the fuzz of guitar has settled on both sides, the band talks to The Cat and considers the act of making a record, compared to putting it on stage. James ‘Corbo’ Corbishly, lead guitarist, thinking about his own preference, begins: “I always always always said making the music,” but even he couldn’t ignore the pull of their performance, adding “after those few big gigs, that’s why I originally did it.” Alongside their headline tour, Camens have recently enjoyed slots performing with The K’s and Scouting for Girls – undeniable juggernauts when it comes to putting on a show. Some would argue that the purpose of making a record is to see it come alive. To watch it hold people in real time. This record, although a sapling in their discography (the opener however, dates back to 2018), does just that.

The two tracks that close the night, both taken from the new release, are punchy and hard to shake. Drums shimmy across the airwaves, moving hips as they pass. Both ‘Sleep Patterns Repeating’ and ‘Poltergeist’ feel atmospherically reminiscent of recent tracks by The Wombats with a familiar sense of echo and ease to their vocals as well as their clear, flourishing production. Lead singer, Scott Powell, could even be Matthew Murphy himself, punctuating every note with some kind of motion. A bounce in the shoulders. A throwing of the head. A feverish shuffle that takes him round the stage. There’s an evident giddiness that you can’t help but mirror. In fact, as the set reaches its pinnacle, a group of girls in the front are doing just that. Prancing and colliding with one another as the beat shuffles them.

Must be the drug of performing.

Photo Credit: Rachel McHaffie

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